Archive | September, 2008

Make the Search Box Work (and Resize) for You!

1174761255 I remember one of the early problems with every version of Firefox (until 3 came out) was the fact that you couldn’t edit how long the search box in the right corner should be.  Thankfully, with Firefox 3, now all you have to do is stretch it over to fit your needs.  So why would you need any of the older add-ons like Searchbar Autosizer?

Let me tell you there are still plenty of good reasons to give this Firefox search tool a shot.  Once installed, it shrinks your search box to the smallest size it can.  However, as you type into the search box, it extends itself to the left – so you can see everything you have typed in thus far.

Diving Deeper into the Searchbar Autosizer Options…

You can configure just about every size and resizing option with the add-on, but for those of us who don’t like to get too geeky there are three basic setting to choose from:

  • Size incrementally, to each letter
  • Enlarge Search box on first strike
  • Keep the same width all the time

When you have finished submitting a query, you can also choose to empty the search box (or not), revert to the default search engine (or not), and shrink search box to button if empty (or not).  They also promote the fact that their extension should work with any Firefox theme out there.  After testing with a few, I couldn’t prove them wrong on that point.   If you get stuck, they have a pretty nice FAQ too.

Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 1 Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 2 Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 3

You can pickup this classic Firefox companion at the Firefox Add-ons web site or at the official web site for the extension.

The Secret of a Good Dark Theme for Firefox

heavencube I have said before, there are not many dark Firefox themes that I like that much.  Maybe I’m just too happy to enjoy the lights being turned out in the browser.  Heaven.Cube, a new theme for Firefox 3, might change my mind.  It has style.  It has darkness.  Best of all, (here is the secret!) it is very unique.

After using it for a while, you’ll get the feeling that your browser is almost glowing.  All the icons are shinny and bright.  Putting that against the dark background really makes them look good.  As far as what I’d like to see in the future, I could see all kinds of various colors being released (personally, I’d like to see a dark green and black one). 

heavencube2

You can pick this beauty of a theme up at Firefox Add-ons web site.  If your looking for more dark popular themes, be sure to check out our last round up that included some of the best ones you can find for Firefox 3.

Quicker Access to Your Unsorted Bookmarks

unsorted-bookmarks-tip To tell you the truth, I have not used the Unsorted Bookmarks feature in Firefox 3 that much at all.  Why?  Well, it is a ‘bit of a pain to get to.  You have to open your bookmark manager, open up all bookmarks in the tree then go down to unsorted bookmarks.  Want an easier way to access your unsorted bookmarks?

Right-click on your bookmarks toolbar, and select “New Bookmark”.

unfiltered-smart-bookmark

The name can be anything.  To keep things simple, for now we will just call it “Unsorted Bookmarks”.  You might want to shorten that to “ubooks”, “ub” or something like that if you want to save bookmark toolbar space.  Now for the location, type this smart bookmark string in:

place:folder=UNFILED_BOOKMARKS

Now hit the “Add” button, and you should see a new folder popup on your bookmarks toolbar named “Unsorted Bookmarks”.  Click on it as you would with any other bookmark folder, and you can see all of your bookmarks that have not yet been categorized into the rest of your bookmark folders.

UPDATE: For Firefox 3.5 (or for any version where this is not working) try to restart Firefox, then see if it works.  So add this bookmark, restart Firefox, then re-launch Firefox and it should work.

Better Tab Switching with FoxTab

foxtab3 Want a new way to quickly and elegantly switch between tabs in Firefox?  FoxTab is a new experimental add-on for Firefox, and it makes switching between tabs a very unique experience. 

You can view your tabs in a number of different ways:

  • Wall – like a TV store. select the desired tab (“TV screen”) from a wall.
  • Grid – the tabs are aligned on a grid.
  • Row – the tabs arranged in a row.
  • Cycle – rotate between tabs.

Activating it is easy.  Either hit the toolbar button for it, or hold the Ctrl key down and then hit the Tab key.  If you want to keep it front and center, just hit Ctrl + Q.  From the options, you can also set the size of the tab switcher (just in case you don’t like it being full screen). 

foxtab foxtab2

All in all it provides a new visual method for quick tab switching that is both useful and beautiful at the same time.  Currently FoxTab is only for Windows users, and is an experimental add-on.  If you wish to download it, and try it out – you can do so at the Firefox Add-ons site.

Google Chrome Themes for Firefox

Want to dress Firefox up to look like Google Chrome? 

It is ok to look at other browser’s themes from time to time.  That doesn’t mean your a cheater, it just means you like looking at new things every once in a while.  Chromiefox is a coat of “chrome” for Firefox.  Available for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, this theme will bring you the look and feel of Chrome without having to switch browsers to get your fix.

chrome-vista

Here are the other flavors of Chromiefox to check out, based on the OS you use:

Chromiefox for Windows Chromiefox for Linux Chromiefox for OSX

As a word of warning, the author of the theme does say there are some compatibility issues with some third party add-ons.  So that maybe something to keep in mind. 

chrome-icon  What about having your tabs on the very top of the browser like Google Chrome?  You can get this desired effect via Userstyles.org (must also have the Stylish add-on installed).  To pick up the experimental hack, go visit:  http://userstyles.org/styles/10470 .

A Chat with the Man Who Makes Your Tabs Colorful

colorful-tabs

Not often do the people behind the absolutely awesome Firefox add-ons, tools and the browser itself get much time in the spotlight.  I recently had the chance to talk with the ColorfulTabs extension author, Shivanand Sharma, to get his views on his creation and a number of other development related questions.

What first inspired you to create the ColorfulTabs add-on for Firefox?

Before I begin I’d like to congratulate you and commend you for the great and popular blog and content you have created. A ‘hello’ to all your visitors and fans of Firefox.

Back in the old days when Firefox caught my attention, there was a page with a walk-through on how to use userchrome.css to style your toolbars and buttons. The article was created by Flexer and I was so fascinated that I spent hours coloring and styling every aspect of the browser. One day the idea just struck – what if every tab was a different color? At least the tab boundaries will be more distinguishable. It was a small idea that gave birth to ColorfulTabs. Initially ColorfulTabs just used 32 fixed colors to color each tab in a cycle (after the 32nd tab color cycle just restarted).

Continue Reading →

Firefox’s New JavaScript Engine Faster than Chrome’s V8

Yes, it is true because big graphs never lie…

tracev8

Why debate it, when you have a really big pretty graph to look at?  Here is some more on the topic from arstechnica.com.

One of the most impressive features in Google’s open source Chrome web browser is V8, a high-performance JavaScript virtual machine that was developed by a team of specialists in Denmark. Although Chrome’s performance beats the current stable version of Firefox, benchmarks show that Mozilla’s next-generation JavaScript engine actually outperforms V8.

So is the new browser speed war going to be between Firefox and Chrome? 

Search from the Address Bar in Firefox

The other day, when we were talking about bringing Chrome features into Firefox, the topic “searching from the address bar” was mentioned.  By default, when you type a word into the address bar by itself, it gives you Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” number one result. 

awesome-bar

What if you just want to do a regular Google search? 

There is an easy way to turn your address bar into a Google search box.  You want to type into your address bar about:config.  Next, type into the filter keyword.URL. Once you have found it there, modify the string in there and replace it with:

http://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q=

From now on, when you type in a word or phrase into the address bar and hit enter, it will launch a Google search for it rather than giving you Google’s top result for that word or phrase.

Where Did Foxie Wire Go?

I have noticed the past few days that FoxieWire.com has been down.  For those of you who might not have seen it before, Foxie Wire is a digg-like web site just for Mozilla fans.

foxiewire

Hope all is well in Foxie Wire land!  It has been a great alternative resource for Firefox news and interesting links.  Would hate to see it get lost. If anybody knows the inside scoop, let me know!

Update: Looks like it is back now. :)  Here is an update from the webmaster on how you can help out:

We are back
its been a long week changing from pligg to drigg

its not 100% working out all the bugs you may need to request a new password to login

if your a drupal or drigg guru and want to willing to volunteer some free time please contact me anytime

Thanks Jamey for the update!

Turn Firefox all Black and Blue with Gradient iCool

Want to get Firefox all black and blue without entering it into a no old bared street fight with Internet Explorer 7? (We all know who would win that one…) Well, you can with the Gradient iCool theme for Firefox. 

1220813723_121

I noticed the blog author was bragging about 4,000 downloads. Lets see if we can get him a few more thanks to FirefoxFacts.com.

The Gradient iCool theme is a dark theme based on Windows Media Player 11.  It is also the successor of Ozone Black x Blue.  To follow more information on it’s development, be sure to check out the official blog for it.  If you want to pick it up and use it yourself, get it at the Firefox Add-ons web site.